Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Indeed the State With the Highest VAT Collection is also the Richest

What statistical analyses do not convey is that such data actually confirm the enormous gap between the rich and the poor in Kashmir

J&K richest State in country

New Delhi: Almost half of Orissa’s population is poor, with 46.37 per cent of the people in the State living below poverty line.

On the other hand, insurgency-hit Jammu and Kashmir is the richest where only 5 out of every 100 are officially poor.

The assesments based on daily calorie-intake found that people in Orissa were most deprived followed by Bihar, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, with the below poverty line population hovering over 40 per cent in each of these States, Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs V Narayansamy told the Upper House today in written reply.

Chandigarh and Punjab were among the better performers with only 7.07 per cent and 8.41 living below the poverty line.

"According to the latest available estimates based on large sample survey data on household consumer expenditure, 27.5 per cent people were living below the poverty line...In rural areas the poverty ratio was estimated as 28.3 per cent whereas in urban areas it was 25.7 per cent," Narayansamy said.

A number of poverty alleviation programmes, including National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana, Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) and Swarna Jayanti Sheri Rojgar Yojana (SJSRY) are being implemented by the Governemnt, he said.

However, he added, "During the last two years — 2007-08 and 2008-09, the States like Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, J&K, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim and West Bengal were not able to achieve the targets...."

"...Under the Indira Awas Yojana, mainly the States of Bihar, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya and West Bengal were not able to achieve the targets during 2007-08 and 2008-09," Narayansami said.

Under the SJSRY, on an average the performance of all North-Eastern States, and Jharkhand, Goa, J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab was below average, he said. (PTI)

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